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Weight Loss
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80% Food 20% Exercise?

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I was listening to the radio and  they were reading a snippit that read:

"Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise."

This didnt sound too bad to me since i've really been struggling getting my self to the gym but have found the diet part easier. I need some perspective on this topic. Is it possible to eat well and do minimal exercise and still lose weight consistantly?

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Well from my experience, I was working out, mostly cardio like a maniac for months and months 7 days a week, and maintained at about 140lbs, eating 1800 cals approx, (wasnt really counting then), but it wasnt until I really paid attention to my calorie intake and placed the greater emphasis on that that I started losing, down to about 128lbs now, For me, its def been 80% diet but I think exercise becomes more important once you start maintaining your goal weight.

It can happen. But, it will be way slower. I lost 20 pounds without any exercise, but that was in 7 MONTHS. Everyone's metabolism is different though. To answer your question: Yes, it can be done.

not for me.  for me, i'll bet it's the reverse.  i've been tracking my weight, activity, etc. for almost three years, and i've analyzed it in many different ways.  for me, weight gain was almost entirely about inactivity.

I, of course, agree that to truly be healthy (and after all, isn't that what weight loss is about?) you need to include both a healthy diet and exercise into you life. 

But, in the matter of sheer numbers, diet is a larger part of weight loss then exercise.  If you think about it in purely the numbers sense, a half hour of brisk walking will burn about 200 calories (of course that depends on many factors, but lets just say roughly).  Meanwhile, a bowl of cereal with milk is about 200 calories (again, this depends on many factors).  So, what I'm trying to get at, is that it is easier to manipulate the "calories in, calories out" factor via dieting then it is via exercise.  Does that make sense? 

By regulating calories you consume you will have a larger effect on weight loss then by exercise alone.  That being said, ideally, you must include diet and exercise into your life for optimal success.

For me, exercise is the key component in looking fit.

Sure, one can lose weight by watching calories but how many scrawny skinny people have we seen out there?

If has to be a combo of healthy food and vigorous exercise if one is trying to have a body to be proud of or a desired shape/size..

Gee, haven't they been preaching that for years?

Who knew?



For me, exercise was the main component of my weight loss. I have transformed my body instead of just losing pounds. I find it's too much pressure if I just count calories.

I've always done cardio for my entire life, without it I'm sure I would be at least 30 pounds heavier then I am right now. Exercise gives me the breathing space to not worry about taking those few extra bites. I've always had a normal weight, but the moment I decided to lose those last 10 pounds for good, I did more exercise and it worked. For me I would rather spend 45 minutes doing exercise then starving myself all day.

Well, I have lost my first 40 lbs by diet alone.  However, as I have lost, it has been very difficult to keep my deficit of 500 cals a day.  When I started, my maintain burn was 2080.  Now it's only 1830.  That's 250 calories less I get to eat now, and I just can't do it. 

I'm pretty active, have horses and such, and do a fair bit of walking and so I thought I was fairly "fit".  But I wanted to eat more, so I have now started to incorporate some "wogging" into my day.  Boy, did I ever find out how out of shape I was.  Let's just say it's embarrassing how little of the jogging element I'm able to do at this point.

So it all goes back to being healthy.  Yes you can lose weight by eating less, but are you HEALTHY?  To me it's the same principle as those who might ask is a calorie a calorie.  Yes, you can lose weight by eating nothing but cheeseburgers and cookies if you still maintain a deficit.  Yes you can, but it's not healthy.  You can be 110 lbs and still have heart disease if you eat the wrong types of foods and don't get in any cardio.

I think the litle news article you heard though, was probably trying to point out that you can excercise like crazy, but if you still eat junk, you are not going to be healthy or lose weight.

I don't agree with the 80/20. I feel that weight loss depends on the person.

I go walking with a girl who watches everything she eats, and her weight isn't falling off or dropping like mines. She has no get up and go.

I feel weight loss has 4 parts.

Time, food,exercise,focus....

Having your all made up.

My exercise physiologist also says 80% diet / 20% exercise.

But that's probably fits the "average" person who is eating an "average" (ie, poor) American diet, and who is overweight by the "average" amount.   When I first started, at 65 pounds overweight, that fit about right.  About 80% of my deficit came from the diet.  Now that I've lost 57 pounds, it's MUCH harder to create the necessary deficit, and it's about 60% diet and 40% exercise.



Well, I've lost 175 pounds with my main focus on diet. I'm not much of an exerciser. There were times when I got on an exercise bike (rare and I lost focus fast), but mostly I try to just go for a walk sometimes. Really light, didn't take up all that much of my day.

So yes, I agree that "Weight Loss" is 80/20%. But the question is: Is HEALTH 80% diet and 20% exercise? I think that might be a 50/50 there.

So it all depends on what you are trying to achieve.

I would like to agree that a healthy lifestyle includes exercise.

When it comes to weight loss alone though...I've gone from 317 lbs to 250 lbs mostly thanks to watching what I I would have to agree with the 80/20...maybe even 90/10. I do exercise on a regular basis now (mostly biking to work) but before I added that in to my life, I was losing just fine. I think it has to do with how much weight you have to lose as well...a person who has only 20 lbs to lose will need to depend on the calories burn from exercise more than someone who has 100+ to lose. At my higher weight, exercise was very difficult.

And weirdly, when I started biking regularly, it actually became more difficult to lose weight and slowed down considerably. I am taking in more calories that compensate for the extra burn (I can't imagine lowering my calories much, I would be hungry and miserable!). I know that if I stopped biking every day, I would find it easier to reduce my cals and maybe go back to losing faster...but since I am in this for a whole healthy lifestyle, I keep it up.

Well, I lost my first 12 or so lbs without exercise. But believe me that 12 didn't make half the difference than the next 10 did - that's when I started exercising and I dropped almost 3 sizes within that 10. It's amazing what exercise can do (I was doing mainly  HIIT, with 3 hours of yoga a week - now I've swapped the yoga for Pilates but it's about the same). The other thing that is interesting is I weigh more than I did a few years ago but my measurements are much smaller. I do think you can lose the weight without diet and that if you exercise and don't watch what you eat you won't see much in the way of results but the two combined can have powerful effects.

13 Replies